Loch Ness monster ‘found’ on satellite map image
Scotsman article published on Saturday 19th April 2014
Even the Loch Ness Monster cannot escape computer giant Apple – satellite images from the firm’s mapping app appear to show a creature in the loch. Two amateur Nessie hunters made the “discovery” on images from different satellites looking down at the Earth.
Images of the location, just south of Dores, were visible on some iPads and iPhones with the map app, according to Peter Thain from Northumberland and Andy Dixon of County Durham. Mr Dixon said: “It was purely by accident that I came across the image. I was trawling through satellite transmissions of different parts of the country and I thought I would try Loch Ness.
“I could see something big under the water and I saved it to my phone. My first thought was that it was the monster, and I contacted Gary Campbell of the Official Loch Ness Monster Club. “I was a believer in Nessie before this but I had never been there. Now I am so excited, I can’t wait to get up north and pay a visit – with a camera of course.
Highland clans hold celebration events in Inverness
BBC article published on Saturday 19th April 2014
A groups of Highland clans are to hold an anniversary celebration in Inverness this weekend. The Association of Highland Clans Society (AHCS) will also help mark this year’s Homecoming Festival.
Representatives from Jacobite groups across the world are expected on Saturday 19 April at the Drumossie Hotel. As part of the event, Highland Council will detail their plans for the “Highland Coming”.
The Association of Highland Clans and Societies, which came into being a year ago at an eve of Culloden Commemoration event at the Highland Archive Centre, now represents some 24 clans from the northern and western Highlands. Most of its member clans will be represented at this years Battle of Culloden Commemoration Service organised by the Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Kelpie sculptures lit up for pyrotechnic launch event
BBC article published on Thursday 17th April 2014
Scotland’s biggest art installation has been lit up as part of a spectacular launch event. At the first of two night-time events, artist Andy Scott’s 300-tonne, 30m high Kelpie horse heads were brought to life by a light, sound and pyrotechnic display.
It was staged by Groupe F, a pyrotechnic outfit which lit up the Eiffel Tower at the Millennium. The Kelpies, near Falkirk, officially open to the public on Monday. The massive steel sculptures are part of the Helix, a £43m redevelopment of about 350 hectares of land between Falkirk and Grangemouth.
They are being launched at a two-night arts event called HOME, which also celebrates the opening of the John Muir Way, a new national pathway stretching across the central belt.
More than 50 Scottish beaches given ‘excellent’ rating
BBC article published on Tuesday 15th April 2014
More than 50 Scottish beaches have been commended for their water quality. A report from the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) rated 54 of 95 beaches in Scotland as having “excellent” quality water – 12 more than the previous year.
The figure – for 2013- was the highest number of Scottish beaches to meet the standard in 27 years. All of Scotland’s beaches tested met at least the minimum standard required by the agency. MCS Scotland programme manager, Calum Duncan, said he hoped the latest figures would be a boost to Scottish tourism after several previously wet summers which led to a drop in bathing water quality.
Expo and trips boost region
Southern Reporter article published on Monday 14th April 2014
Tourism businesses from across the region showcased the very best the Borders has to offer at this year’s VisitScotland expo – the national tourism organisation’s flagship travel trade event.
Over 250 Scottish tourism businesses exhibited to hundreds of tour operators from all over the world at VisitScotland expo, which took place in Glasgow earlier this month. Now in its 35th year, the event provides a fantastic opportunity for face-to-face meetings with those who organise group trips to Scotland.
Scottish Borders Group Travel Itineraries, Borders Food & Drink Network, Bowhill House and Country Estate, Abbotsford, Scottish Borders Area Tourism Partnership, Gunsgreen House, Floors Castle, Homecoming Scottish Borders and Traquair House all attended the business-to-business event.
Scottish isles rated as National Geographic ‘tour of a lifetime’
BBC article published on Friday 11th April 2014
A guided holiday of Scottish islands has been listed among a world travel magazine’s 50 Tours of a Lifetime. Wilderness Walking: The Outer Hebrides and Skye is the only UK entry on National Geographic Traveler’s suggested tours to take in 2014. The six-day Scottish holiday starts in Inverness and takes in Harris, Skye and Scalpay.
Also listed were a wolf-watching break in Montana and a tour of African landscapes linked to Nelson Mandela. Holidays in Iceland, Alaska, the Amazon and Antarctica have also been included. Paul Easto, managing director of the walking holiday’s operator Wilderness Scotland, and VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay have welcomed the Scottish tour’s inclusion.
Glasgow 2014: ‘Unprecedented’ chance for tourism
Scotsman article published on Thursday 10th April 2014
The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will offer an “unprecedented opportunity” for tourism, attracting thousands of new visitors to the city and Scotland, Games officials said.
A fifth (20 per cent) of people who have tickets for the Games have never visited Glasgow, while more than half (54 per cent) know little or nothing about the city, a new study conducted by Glasgow 2014 found. However many plan to stay a few nights in the city, with nearly half (46 per cent) planning a short break of two to four nights and almost one in three (28 per cent) intending to stay five nights or more.
One in 10 intend to combine their visit to Glasgow with a longer trip to Scotland to explore other parts of the country. The study of almost 10,000 spectators asked them about their travel, accommodation and visitor plans.
The Kelpies horse head sculptures lit up for sneak peek
BBC article published on Tuesday 8th April 2014
A massive art installation at Falkirk has been lit up for the first time. The Kelpies, two towering statues of horse heads, will open to the public after a night-time launch event. A lighting test has provided a sneak peek of the two 300 tonne, 30m (100ft) tall sculptures in their prime.
Thousands are expected to attend the launch of artist Andy Scott’s creations, which will feature light, sound and flames in a pyrotechnic spectacle next week. The launch takes place on 17 and 18 April, and members of the public will have the chance to tour the structures from the following Monday. The completion of the £5m sculptures just off the M9 motorway is a key milestone in the £43m Helix project, which is transforming 865 hectares of land between Falkirk and Grangemouth. It is hoped the redevelopment will attract 350,000 visitors a year, bringing in £1.5m of extra tourism revenue.
Study rediscovers pilgrims’ paths to Whithorn
BBC article published on Monday 7th April 2014
Routes and paths taken by medieval pilgrims to Scotland’s “cradle of Christianity” have been rediscovered and mapped out in a new study. Whithorn, in Dumfries and Galloway, is home to the earliest recorded Christian community in Scotland, and also contains a shrine to St Ninian.
The study used Ordnance Survey data to highlight the locations of several places of historical significance. It is hoped that the routes will bring more visitors and pilgrims to the area. Dr Valentina Bold, director of the Solway Centre at the Glasgow University Dumfries Campus, said that the newly rediscovered routes would help fill out the back story of the area and add to its appeal for modern-day pilgrims. She said: “I think what it adds is something to the story of the pilgrims who visited the area. It also allows the modern would-be pilgrim to map out their own route. There are some wonderful, still active, sites. “The pilgrim can pick out sites which they feel will be special to them and develop their own journey.” Click here to read the full article.
‘Tartan 10k’ kicks off Scottish week in New York
BBC article published on Saturday 5th April 2014
A week of Scottish-themed events in New York has begun with a “tartan” 10km race. First Minister Alex Salmond, who has travelled to the city to take part in a number of the week’s events, started the race.
The 11th annual Scotland Run took place in New York’s Central Park. Many runners took part wearing kilts, while pipers played Scottish music along much of the course. The Scotland Run is organised by the New York Road Runners group. Chief Executive Mary Wittenberg said: “This is one of our most festive runs and people really get into the Scottish spirit, dressing up in kilts and painting their faces. “It’s a fun and memorable day, and we thank the Scottish government for its continued support.” Click here to read the full article.
Wallace and Bruce letters on show at Stirling Castle
BBC article published on Friday 4th April 2014
Rare medieval letters concerning Robert the Bruce and William Wallace are to go on display together for the first time. The 700-year-old letters, including one from King Philip IV of France, depict the men’s different paths in securing the Scottish crown. Two letters dated nine years apart demonstrate the involvement of the French king with Wallace and Bruce in the fate of the monarchy.
The exhibition opens at Stirling Castle on 3 May and will run until June. The letter from King Philip IV is penned to his agents in Rome, commanding them to ask Pope Boniface VIII to support Wallace. It was written in 1300 and was discovered in the Tower of London in the 1830s. It is currently on loan to the National Records of Scotland from the National Archives in London. The document is being displayed alongside a letter to King Philip dated nine years later, which was written by Scottish barons attending the first parliament following Robert the Bruce’s seizure of the throne in 1306. Historians consider their declaration of support for Bruce to be an important moment in the recognition of his crown. Click here to read the full article.
What’s in a Scottish place name?
BBC article published on Thursday 3rd April 2014 From Ecclefechan to Puddledub, some of Scotland’s place names are just as memorable as its landmarks. A new Glasgow University project is exploring how some of these places got their famous names. Scotland’s Place Names aims to provide schoolchildren with an online resource on Scotland’s cultural and linguistic history. It explains which languages various place names are from, what they might mean and the history that is attached to them. The data behind the project is taken from the University’s Scottish Toponymy in Transition (STIT) research, which is exploring the history of Scottish place names in Clackmannanshire, Kinross-shire and Menteith. Chief researcher Dr Simon Taylor said: “Scotland is a country where many different languages have been spoken over the last 1,500 years, and its place names reflect this rich and varied history. “What we are doing is giving teachers the tools to explore Scotland’s rich heritage.” Click here to read the full article.
Stirling Armed Forces Day events unveiled
Scotsman article published on Thursday 3rd April 2014 Spectacular Red Arrows routines and a dramatic Royal Marine rescue exercise are set to compete with celebrations to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, after the plans for Stirling’s Armed Forces Day event were revealed. Classic wartime aircraft including a Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster, modern-day Tornado and Typhoon fighters, and the Royal Navy’s Sea King search and rescue helicopters will be among the star attractions at the free event, which will be staged in the shadow of Stirling Castle on the weekend of 28 – 29 June. The event takes place on the same weekend as the two-day Bannockburn Live event to commemorate the battle’s 700th anniversary. Thousands of people are expected to line a route from the historic landmark to a vast display field at Kings Park for a parade of military bands, serving personnel and around 1500 veterans from conflicts as far back as the Second World War. Up to 50,000 people – more than twice the total capacity of Bannockburn Live – are expected to descend on Stirling for the UK’s main Armed Forces Day event. Click here to read the full article.
NTS seeks £50m to safeguard Scotland’s treasures
Scotsman article published on Monday 31st March 2014 The National Trust for Scotland has warned it will need to raise almost £50 million extra over the next decade to keep its vast array of properties and land across the country up to scratch. Scotland’s biggest conservation charity, which is responsible for some of the nation’s best-known landmarks, beauty spots and historic sites, will need to generate at least £4.6m a year on average for the next ten years. That represents more than a third of what it already spends, £11.6m. This is largely funded by its 320,000-strong membership and private donors. Kenneth Calman, the organisation’s chairman, has warned NTS will have some “harsh truths to grapple with” over the next few years because of the “enormous” sums of cash involved in maintaining its estate, which includes more than 1,500 sites, properties and buildings. However, the charity’s trustees are said to have described the prospect of raising the cash as “challenging, but do-able”. Click here to read the full article.
Skiing in Scotland until end of April ‘possible’
BBC article published on Monday 31st March 2014
Skiing and snowboarding could continue in Scotland until the end of April because of heavy snowfalls. Nevis Range said it was having its best winter since 2010 when the ski tows at CairnGorm Mountain, near Aviemore, were opened at midsummer for the first time.
Marian Austin, managing director at Nevis Range, said the resort near Fort William had experienced record snowfalls. Nevis Range, CairnGorm and Glencoe have depths of up to 16ft (5m). Ms Austin said: “It is amazing cover for this time of year.” In June 2010, more than 100 skiers took advantage of ski tows when they were opened at CairnGorm Mountain. Previously at that time of year people were able to ski in the Cairngorms, however, they had to trek to where the snow was. Click here to read the full article.
Melrose Abbey hosts final Hawick missal performance
BBC article published on Friday 28th March 2014
The third in a trilogy of special performances inspired by the discovery of a 12th Century missal fragment is to take place at Melrose Abbey. The historic document was discovered in Hawick in 2009.
Previous performances have been held at Jedburgh Abbey and Kelso Abbey and featured works by composers Sean Doherty and Michael Nyman. The last event is on 5 April – ahead of Palm Sunday – and will use music composed by Grayston Ives. The Hawick Missal Fragment was once part of a missal – a book which contained the texts and chants for a Mass. Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Fragments is a unique and ground breaking project, and Fragments of Red is particularly poignant because it will be performed ahead of Palm Sunday, for which the original piece of medieval music was composed. “Grayston Ives is renowned in the world of choral music, and the first performance of his unique interpretation of the music from the Hawick missal fragment promises to be breathtaking.” Click here to read the full article.
From Russia with love: Russians sign up for Bond tour
BBC article published on Thursday 27th March 2014 Russian holiday operators are to be given a guided tour of Scottish places connected to James Bond. Russia has been the inspiration for famous 007 villains such as Rosa Klebb in From Russia With Love and Alan Cumming’s Boris Grishenko in GoldenEye. Many of the stories have also been set during the Cold War and the later collapse of the Soviet Union. VisitScotland will take the tour operators to sites in the Highlands, Argyll and central Scotland. The familiarisation trip will form part of the tourism body’s Expo, a travel trade show at Glasgow’s SECC on 2 and 3 April. Representatives from holiday operators from the USA, Canada, Japan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, China, Denmark and Germany will also be taken on the guided tour. Click here to read the full article.
Downton and Bond fuel rise in Scottish visitors
Scotsman article published on Wednesday 26th March 2014 James Bond, Lego, Downton Abbey and Mary, Queen of Scots have been hailed for boosting Scottish tourism in 2013. They have been credited with fuelling bookings at visitor attractions, which brought in 32 million people last year. The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions has reported an increase of 200,000 visitors, with the National Museum of Scotland – which hosted the biggest-ever exhibition devoted to Mary, Queen of Scots – the busiest in the country, with 1.76 million visitors. Among the best-performing sites were Paisley Museum, which saw its numbers increase by 70 per cent thanks to a Lego exhibition. Click here to read the full article.
Glenkiln Sculpture Park
Scotsman article published on Tuesday 25th March 2014 Overlooking the clear blue waters of a nearby reservoir, Glenkiln Sculpture Park is an open air museum located in a beautiful part of Scotland. Established in 1951 by Sir William Keswick, the park was the result of Sir William’s desire to exhibit sculptures in a natural setting. Until recently, a total of six artworks were located at the park in Shawhead, near Dumfries. Four pieces by renowned English sculptor Henry Moore, including Standing Figure (1950), King and Queen (1952–53), Upright Motive No. 1: Glenkiln Cross (1955–56) and Two Piece Reclining Figure No.1, can be found at the site. Click here to read the full article.
St Andrew Square Garden to become Fringe venue
Scotsman article published on Tuesday 25th March 2014 One Edinburgh’s finest Georgian squares will be transformed into a major Fringe arena for the first time to coincide with the arrival of trams in the city centre. Competition for festival-goers between the New Town and the south side of the capital is to be dramatically stepped up over plans to stage dozens of shows in St Andrew Square Garden. Three separate performance areas will be created in the area, which is also home to the Jenners and Harvey Nichols department stores, and will have its own tram stop. It will become home to one of the most popular Fringe venues, the Famous Spiegeltent, an intimate yurt-style tent and a world-music stage around its towering monument, with the site expected to be open until at least midnight. Click here to read the full article.
Plans announced for public transport to 2014 Ryder Cup
BBC article published on Monday 24th March 2014
New public transport plans have been announced ahead of the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. Three park and ride facilities for spectators are to be set up around the region, while local roads and train services will be affected. Meetings will take place in Kinross, Auchterarder, Stirling and Perth to explain the plans to local communities.
The biennial golf tournament between Europe and the US takes place at the Perthshire course in September. Local authorities have drawn up plans considering approaches to Gleneagles from the north, west and east. They include three park and ride facilities to ferry ticket-holders to the tournament and back at Perth, Balado and Stirling. Click here to read the full article.
Ryder Cup 2014: Gleneagles will be car-free zone
Scotsman article published on Monday 24th March 2014 Spectators at this year’s Ryder Cup will arrive at Gleneagles either by bus or train after the Perthshire venue was designated as a car-free zone for ticket-paying customers in the transport plan for the event. The majority of the 45,000 fans per day due to attend golf’s biggest team tournament will use three park and ride facilities – at Balado on the outskirts of Kinross, Perth’s McDiarmid Park and Castleview in Stirling. Click here to read the full article.
Scotsman Travel: 6 days out within 90 minutes of Edinburgh
Scotsman article published on Saturday 22nd March 2014
Scotland’s capital is full of interesting places and exciting things to do, but there are plenty of places nearby that you shouldn’t neglect. Here are six great locations to visit within an hour-and-a-half of leaving Edinburgh.
Line-up announced for Bannockburn anniversary event
BBC article published on Wednesday 19th March 2014
The 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn will be marked this summer with a large-scale re-enactment of the legendary clash. More than 300 battle performers will be joined by musicians, artists and comedians at the Bannockburn Live festival in June.
Concerns were raised about the event after it was cut from three days to two amid worries over ticket sales. But tourism bosses insisted the weekend will be “an amazing experience”. Bannockburn Live will be held at the site of the historic battlefield, near Stirling, on 28 and 29 June. Julie Fowlis, Dougie MacLean, Karine Polwart and Rachel Sermanni will be among the musicians appearing at the event, which will also feature a massive re-enactment of the 1314 battle by more than 300 warriors and camp followers. Click here to read the full article.
Musicians sign up for Bannockburn celebrations
Scotsman article published on Wednesday 19th March 2014 A string of Scotland’s leading musicians have agreed to take part in the troubled celebrations to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. Julie Fowlis, the Gaelic songstress who won worldwide fame after appearance on the soundtrack of Disney-Pixar film Brave, and veteran musician Dougie MacLean, best known for his epic anthem Caledonia, will top the bill of entertainment at the two-day event in June. Other star attractions include Roddy Woomble, frontman of indie favourites Idlewild, Roddy Hart and The Lonesome Fire, who recently won a week-long residency on Craig Ferguson’s US chat show, Celtic supergroup Treacherous Orchestra, multi award-winning folk singer Karine Polwart and Rachel Sermanni, the new face and voice of RBS’s latest campaign. More than 300 performers are lined up to appear at recreations of medieval encampments and the battle itself, while almost 40 different clan organisations are expected at the event at the end of June. Click here to read the full article.
Edinburgh International Festival programme launched
BBC article published on Tuesday 18th March 2014 This year’s Edinburgh International Festival will celebrate 20 years of democracy in South Africa. A ballet world premiere, a play and a live installation will mark two decades since the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. The festival will also commemorate 100 years since the outbreak of World War One with a theatre production by Flemish director Luk Perceval. Jonathan Mills will direct the annual showcase for the eighth and last time. Work celebrating democracy in South Africa opens with the world premiere of a new ballet Inala. Composer Ella Spira has collaborated with the group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo who will be creating the soundscape for dancers from Rambert and The Royal Ballet, choreographed by Mark Baldwin. Click here to read the full article.
Commonwealth Games: Scotland’s Queen’s Baton Relay route announced
BBC article published on Monday 17th March 2014
The route of the Scottish leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay, which leads up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, has been revealed. The baton is currently in the Caribbean as it tours 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth. It will arrive in Edinburgh on Saturday 14 June and will visit all parts of Scotland over the next 40 days.
The baton arrives in Glasgow just before the games start on 23 July. Hundreds of villages, towns and cities have been named on the Queen’s Baton Relay route through Scotland. The baton will travel across all 32 local authority areas before it reaches Glasgow on Sunday 20 July. Up to 4,000 baton bearers will take part in the Scottish relay, with an average of 100 people carrying the baton daily. Click here to read the full article.
Former Nestlé factory to become whisky wonderland
Edinburgh Evening article published on Monday 17th March 2014 A former Nestlé factory is being transformed into a whisky wonderland – for a taste test with a difference. Amber nectar enthusiasts are set to flock to the Leith venue to savour high-quality drams whose distinctive flavour will be mimicked by evocative visuals and a tailor-made soundscape. Dubbed Create:Eat:Whisky, the experience is aiming to sweep away the cobwebs of traditional sampling events by matching scents, sounds and sights with the unique flavour of the spirit. For example peat whiskies could be served in a smoke-filled dome, scored with woodland sounds and dark projections beamed on to the walls. Bite-size nibbles that compliment the whisky profiles will also be served. Click here to read the full article.
Homecoming 2014: Whisky Stramash set for return
Scotsman article published on Friday 14th March 2014 A two-day whisky festival promising lovers of Scotland’s national drink new ways to enjoy a dram will return to Edinburgh in May as part of the nation’s Homecoming celebrations. Whisky Stramash, which will form part of Homecoming Scotland’s Whisky Month, will take place in the capital’s Surgeon’s Hall in the historic Old Town area. Established brands including The Dalmore, Isle of Jura, Dewars and Glenfiddich, as well as a range of smaller independents, are all set to showcase their whiskies. The Whisky Stramash says it aims to showcase new ways of presenting whisky to the public, with molecular mixology stations and “immersive and interactive” experiences. Since the event’s launch two years ago, over 4,000 whisky aficionados have sampled the Stramash’s innovative whiskies. This year’s event will take place on the 24th and 25th of May. Click here to read the full article.
VisitScotland praises fund’s global success
Herald article published on Thursday 13th March 2014 A fund set up two years ago to help bring international conferences to Scotland has attracted 46 events expected to generate more than £100 million in delegate spend between now and 2021. VisitScotland said the impact made by its Conference Bid Fund, which has helped secure events in sectors such as food and drink, education, life sciences and renewable energy, has been hailed as a vote of confidence in Scotland’s university research, as well as its status as a tourist destination. It also highlighted the impact local authorities can make by supporting conference bids, with the delegate spend projected between now and 2021 spinning out of £936,000 of local investment.
Tudor and Stuart fashion on show in Edinburgh
Scotsman article published on Thursday 13th March 2014 A number of artworks never previously displayed in Scotland will go on show as part of a new exhibition documenting the opulent fashions of the Tudor and Stuart elite. Paintings, drawings and jewellery from the Royal Collection will be displayed alongside rare pieces of clothing from the 16th and 17th centuries in the show at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Gallery. At the heart of the exhibition will be portraits of three generations of Scottish kings and queens – James V (1512-42), his daughter Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87), and her son James VI of Scotland and I of England (1566-1625). Anna Reynolds, the Royal Collection Trust’s curator of paintings, said: “Portraits of the 16th and 17th centuries show that this was a time when luxurious clothing and extravagant jewels were hugely important components of court life – and the Stuarts were at the forefront of this fashionable world.” Click here to read the full article.
Audio tour record for Royal Yacht Britannia
BBC article published on Wednesday 12th March 2014
The Royal Yacht Britannia now has the world’s most translated audio tour, according to officials at the Edinburgh visitor attraction. Tours of the Leith-berthed ship are now available in 27 different languages.
Brazilian, Portuguese, Turkish, Thai, Cantonese and Punjabi were all added this year to the list of languages on offer, in response to customer demand. Britannia sailed the oceans for nearly 44 years, travelling more than a million nautical miles. The vessel called in at more than 600 ports in 135 countries. Click here to read the full article.
Big-budget drama Outlander films in Scotland
BBC article published on Wednesday 12th March 2014
For the past six months a multi-million pound US TV series has been filming in Scotland, but there is still no word on when it will be shown in the UK. Outlander has been filming across various locations, including a one-month stint at Doune Castle.
The drama’s production is expected to last 38 weeks at a cost of more than £50m. It has been described as Scotland’s answer to Game of Thrones, the hit series from the US HBO network that has boosted the industry in Northern Ireland where it is mainly filmed. Based on a series of novels from American author Diana Gabaldon, Outlander follows the story of Claire Randell, a nurse from 1946 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. Click here to read the full article.
Star of Caledonia: Landmark benefit ‘worth £16m’ claim
BBC article published on Wednesday 12th March 2014
Research has claimed the Star of Caledonia public artwork to mark the Scotland-England border at Gretna could be worth £16m in its first year alone. It is hoped construction on the project will begin next year.
Later this month, Dumfries and Galloway Council is to decide whether to match £1m support already secured from Creative Scotland. The cost of the landmark, designed by Charles Jencks and Cecil Balmond, has been estimated at £4.8m. An external assessment of its impact was carried out by BOP Consulting on behalf of Dumfries and Galloway Council and public art development company Wide Open. Click here to read the full article.
Scotsman walk of the week: Walk of the week: John Muir Country Park, Dunbar
Scotsman article published on Sunday 9th March 2014 A century ago this year one of Scotland’s greatest sons died on the other side of the Atlantic. John Muir left Dunbar with his family for North America when he was only 11 but he had already developed a love for the outdoors. Once he grew up his achievements in promoting the environment were immense and he is known as the founding father of the US National Parks. Next month a festival to commemorate him will be held in Scotland when the extended John Muir Way will be officially opened, stretching 134 miles from Dunbar to Helensburgh. This walk takes in part of the route, a beautiful beach and the country park named in his honour. Keep an eye out for the tide on this walk and don’t try to wade into the sea at any point; as explained there are plenty of options even if the water is all the way in. Click here to read the full article.
Over 70k expected at first Scottish Whisky Month
Scotsman article published on Monday 3rd March 2014 More than 70,000 people are expected to attend events the length and breadth of the country as part of Scotland’s first ever national celebration of malt whisky. Some 19 different events will be staged as part of the inaugural Whisky Month, which is billed as one of the centrepieces of the country’s second Year of Homecoming initiative. One-off festivals, initiatives and themed events will be promoted alongside some of the industry’s long-established favourites in the likes of Islay and Speyside. Among the venues taking part will be The Arches nightclub in Glasgow, the Eden Brewery in St Andrews, the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh, Gordon Castle in Moray, and the home of Loch Fyne Oysters in Argyll. Click here to read the full article.
Free ferry tickets to increase visitors to Scottish islands
BBC article published on Friday 28th February 2014
Thousands of free ferry tickets are being given away to encourage more people to visit Scotland’s islands. The Year of Homecoming will see 8,000 tickets given away and there will be free trips to places such as Orkney and Shetland. Visitors will also be able to visit Lewis and Harris, which were named the top islands in Europe by travel website TripAdvisor.
The ferry tickets will be given away through online ballots during March. Scottish islands secured six of the places in TripAdvisor’s list of top 10 isles around Britain, with Lewis and Harris in first place and Orkney’s mainland, Mull, Skye, Arran and Islay included in the selection. The free ticket scheme is a partnership between VisitScotland, Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) and Serco NorthLink Ferries. Click here to read the full article.
Inverness Homecoming leads lucrative arts bonanza
Scotsman article published on Friday 28th February 2014 Inverness is set for a multi-million pound boost to its economy under plans to stage the biggest-ever celebration of Highland culture this year. The city is gearing up for an extended influx of visitors for a bumper two-month calendar of events including a huge Highland Games event, the city’s biggest clan gathering ever and the Royal National Mod. Scotland’s shinty showpiece, celebrations to mark the 150th year of the city’s historic Northern Meeting Park, and a street theatre festival will also be held under the banner of the Highland Homecoming, part of the £6 million nationwide campaign to capitalise on the staging of the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games this year. Click here to read the full article.
National Curling Centre to be built in Stirling
BBC article published on Friday 28th February 2014
A multi-million pound Scottish National Curling Centre is to be created. An initial investment of £2.25m will be cross-funded by Sportscotland and Stirling Council to develop the facilities at Stirling Sports Village.
Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford had previously called on the government to build a curling centre in the town. The announcement comes after Team GB’s curling teams won two medals at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Team GB’s curling team, predominantly made up of Scottish athletes, proved to be one of the biggest success stories at the Sochi Winter Olympics with the men’s and women’s teams winning a silver and bronze medal respectively. Click here to read the full article.
Scotsman walk of the week: River Tweed, Coldstream
Scotsman article published on Sunday 16th February 2014 The River Tweed is a world-renowned course of water. The salmon which are found in its pools are among the most sought after, anywhere. However, on a sunny day at this time of the year thoughts of being next to a global attraction are probably going to be far from the mind. Across the water is England, and despite the Border also attracting attention across the world ahead of this year’s independence referendum, thoughts are still likely to turn towards the tranquillity and beauty of this countryside. Click here to read the full article.
Scots around the world celebrate heritage in tapestry
Scotsman article published on Saturday 15th February 2014 Whisky, haggis, the poetry of Burns; Scotland’s cultural exports are well known, but Scotland has long exported people too. They went not only to the likes of the US, Canada and New Zealand but to all corners of the globe, from Sweden to Argentina. Some of those communities have been hard at work stitching panels which will go to make up the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry. The project is supported by this year’s Homecoming Scotland. The tapestry will be premiered in Prestonpans at the end of May during the Three Harbours Arts Festival, but panels are now beginning to arrive from all over the world for assembling. Click here to read the full article.
Portrait of woman who inspired ‘Belle’ to be shown
Scotsman article published on Friday 14th February 2014 A stunning 18th Century portrait of the mixed race daughter of a slave and her aristocratic cousin, which inspired a new British film, is to go on public display at the ancestral home of one of Scotland’s premier Earls later this year. The painting depicts Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate daughter of Sir John Lindsay, a British Navy admiral an enslaved African known as Maria Belle, together with her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray. The portrait was painted in 1779 by Johann Zoffany when the two cousins were staying together at the London home of the first Earl of Mansfield who was the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, and the uncle of Sir John Lindsay. The painting inspired the recent release of the British-made movie “Belle” starring English actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the title role, Tom Wilkinson and Miranda Richardson. Click here to read the full article.
Edinburgh to host Royal Family fashion exhibition
Scotsman article published on Friday 14th February 2014 Edinburgh is to play host to a major fashion exhibition exploring the tastes of Britain’s Royal Family from almost 500 years ago. While the Duchess of Cambridge is the modern-day draw for royal style watchers, the show at the Palace of Holyroodhouse will turn the focus to the Tudor and Stuart dynasties. The sartorial extravagance of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Charles I and Charles II will be explored through extensive displays of clothing, accessories and jewellery, as well as paintings and drawings. The exhibition, which opens next month and will run until mid-July, will look at how central fashion was to life in the royal courts and how laws were enforced to dictate the fabrics, colours and types of garment that could be worn at each level of society. Clothes and the way they were worn conveyed messages about wealth, age, social position, marital status and even religion. Click here to read the full article.
Fuel pipeline may force T in the Park to new site
Scotsman article published on Friday 14th February 2014 Scotland’s biggest music festival may have to move to a new site due to long-standing health and safety fears over a fuel pipeline running below its current home. T in the Park’s organisers are looking for an alternative base for the event following repeated protests over the use of Balado Park, in Kinross-shire, due to the risk of thousands being killed by an explosion. They have told council chiefs, who grant an annual licence for the event, that they are seeking to use the existing site for only one more year. The possibility of a relocation emerged just days before the launch of this year’s event, which is celebrating its 20th birthday. It was originally staged at Strathclyde Country Park, in Hamilton, and has been at Balado since 1997. Click here to read the full article.
Glacial hints: A brief guide to sluffs and roller balls
BBC article published on Thursday 13th February 2014 Visitors to Scotland’s mountains this winter are encountering sluffs, rime ice and roller balls. But what are they? Click here to read the full article.
Tourism boost for Outer Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland
Scotsman article published on Wednesday 12th February 2014 The number of visitors to the Outer Hebrides has risen by more than a quarter over the past six years, a study reveals. More than 218,000 people visited the Western Isles between October 2012 and September 2013, the Islands Visitor Survey found. The total represents an increase of 27 per cent over the past six years. In total, 425,000 people visited the islands of Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides, providing a £100 million boost to local economies. The study also found that threequarters of those exploring the islands intended to return within the next five years for a break. It found around 80 per cent of visitors stated they were “very satisfied” with their visit. Around 40 per cent of visitors now share their trip experiences online, with almost a third uploading photos of their visit to social media sites. Orkney had 142,816 visitors, compared to 141,974 in a 2008-09 survey, spending over £31m. And Shetland saw 64,655 people travel to the islands, compared to 60,000 who visited in 2006, with a total spend of £16m. Click here to read the full article.
Bannockburn battle recreated in 3D
BBC article published on Friday 31st January 2014
A game that will allow visitors to the new Battle of Bannockburn centre to lead a medieval army in 3D has been unveiled. The Battle Game will see visitors given control of soldiers from the armies of Robert the Bruce and Edward II, who fought in 1314.
The attraction, which has been created by the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland, opens on 1 March. The 700th anniversary of the battle will be marked on 23 and 24 June. Each visit to the centre will culminate in the Battle Game, where visitors will be allocated an army division which appears on a massive 3D map of the Stirling landscape, giving a birds-eye view of the battle. Click here to read the full article.
Scottish ski resorts report snowfall increase
Scotsman article published on Friday 31st January 2014 Scotland’s ski resorts increase in snowfall has provided a massive boost to their winter season. The Scottish mountains in the Highlands are comparing favourably with many in Europe, Scandinavia, the US and Canada. While the rest of Britain talks of floods and mild temperatures, the Scottish ski centres are reporting heavy snowfall, leading staff having to dig out ski lifts and even huts and cabins. At Glencoe Mountain Resort, Nevis Range and Cairngorm Mountain it has been snowing almost non-stop since December. Staff at Glencoe report more snow than they’ve seen for at least 15 years. Glenshee also already had excellent snow cover at high level and, in just the last seven days, has had an amazing dump which has also filled in lower level runs and features. Click here to read the full article.
Glasgow to host Radio One’s Big Weekend
Scotsman article published on Friday 31st January 2014 Glasgow’s year in the limelight has received another massive boost after the BBC confirmed the city will host Britain’s biggest free music event. Top names in pop, rock and dance will perform on Glasgow Green for Radio 1’s flagship “Big Weekend” show. Approximately 60,000 fans are expected over the course of the three-day event, to be staged over the May bank holiday. Glasgow was named just two months after it emerged the city would also be hosting the MTV Europe Music Awards for the first time in November – exactly ten years after it was held in Edinburgh. Executives at the BBC said the “Big Weekend” was being brought north to “celebrate” the city hosting the Commonwealth Games in the summer. A total of 50,000 tickets will be available for the main performances on the Saturday and Sunday, 24 and 25 May, with 10,000 up for grabs for the dance event on the Friday night Click here to read the full article.
Whithorn Trust secures Heritage Lottery Fund support
BBC article published on Thursday 30th January 2014
An organisation promoting the heritage and archaeology of Whithorn has secured a grant which will allow it to reopen its visitor centre and museum. The Whithorn Trust – which runs the site – said last year it could be forced to close due to a lack of funds. It has now secured a £39,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Trust treasurer Margaret Turner said the site, celebrating the town’s role as the “cradle of Scottish Christianity”, would reopen on 1 April. The traditional date for St Ninian establishing his church, Candida Casa, at Whithorn is 397 AD. He is generally credited as the first Christian missionary to Scotland, responsible for converting many Celts. The visitor centre and museum chart the history of the town. Click here to read the full article.
Glasgow approves William Wallace monument
Scotsman article published on Thursday 30th January 2014 Glasgow has finally approved the city’s first monument to William Wallace following a four-year battle. The stone plinth with a medieval helmet will be placed in the garden of the city’s oldest building to commemorate a famous victory over the English. The Society of William Wallace has been trying to get a memorial to the Battle of the Bell o’ the Brae since 2010 and has had several previous designs rejected. Wallace is said to have routed an English force in the city in 1297. The two metre-high sandstone monument is set to be in place by May this year in the grounds of the 500-year-old Provand’s Lordship near Glasgow Cathedral. Click here to read the full article.
Celebrations over Creative Scotland £9.4m handouts
Edinburgh Evening News article published on Wednesday 29th January 2014 Two neglected buildings on top of Edinburgh’s Calton Hill are to be transformed into new art galleries after Creative Scotland announced a £900,000 grant for the project. The Collective Gallery has ambitious plans to develop the City Observatory buildings over the next two years. And the Fruitmarket gallery in Market Street is receiving £1.4 million towards a major refurbishment and extension. The money is part of the annual round of funding for capital projects by the national arts body totalling nearly £10 million. The Collective Gallery has already shut its base in Cockburn Street and relocated to the Calton Hill site, where it hopes to expand its work. The first step was to move into the City Dome on the north side of the Observatory, a five-metre squared space which will house the gallery’s more established programme. Click here to read the full article.
Celebrations over Creative Scotland £9.4m handouts
Scotsman article published on Wednesday 29th January 2014 Signature arts projects across Scotland are to share in a windfall worth almost £9.5 million. Refurbishment, restoration and new-build projects have effectively been given the green light by the national arts funding body, Creative Scotland. The annual round of funding for capital projects has seen grants of up to £1.5m allocated to allow work to begin on large-scale projects, with £9.4m ring fenced. A long-awaited overhaul of the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, the transformation of a historic Catholic seminary and architectural gem in Argyll into a new arts centre, and a revamp of Aberdeen’s historic Music Hall are scheduled. Click here to read the full article.
Forth Bridge Experience images released
Scotsman article published on Wednesday 29th January 2014 Piano recitals and wedding receptions could be held in a visitor centre beneath the Forth Bridge, Network Rail revealed today as it launched consultation on the plans. The firm is seeking views on its £15 million scheme, revealed by Scotland on Sunday two years ago, which includes a viewing platform on top of the north end of the 375ft-high bridge. Catwalk climbs will also be offered from a reception centre at the south side of the bridge, which could be developed into end-to-end walks. Network Rail hopes at least part of the project, estimated to attract 360,000 people annually, will be completed by next year’s 125th anniversary of the bridge’s opening. The new images of the proposals come days after the rail crossing’s bid for World Heritage Site status was lodged. Click here to read the full article.
Up Helly Aa fire festival lights up Shetland
BBC article published on Tuesday 28th January 2014 Shetland’s spectacular annual Up Helly Aa fire festival has been held. Up Helly Aa is a famous event that celebrates Shetland’s Viking heritage, culminating in the dramatic burning of a replica Viking galley. It features a band of latter-day Viking warriors known as the Jarl Squad, and draws visitors from around the world. The Vikings traditionally spend much of the day making public appearances. Click here to read the full article.
Homecoming 2014: More sailings to boost Orkney
Scotsman article published on Monday 27th January 2014 Orkney is set for an economic boost with additional sailings being put into operation over the summer to encourage more people to take part in Year of Homecoming events on the islands. The announcement of extra lunchtime sailings in May and September and an extension of the concessionary travel scheme for islanders by Transport Minister Keith Brown has been welcomed by Orkney Islands Council. Councillor James Stockan, chair of the authority’s development and infrastructure committee, said: “Councillors and council officers have been working hard to secure these local demand-led improvements, and as a result, not only have we secured them, but we have also strengthened our relationship with the minister, which is important as we look to negotiations for the next contract period. Click here to read the full article.
Dumfries marks Burns Night with lantern procession
Scotsman article published on Sunday 26th January 2014 Crowds gathered in the town where Robert Burns spent the final years of his life to celebrate the poet with a procession lit up by 1,000 lanterns. Thousands of people gathered in Dumfries for the Burns Night event which also saw performers, dancers and musicians take to the streets. The homecoming carnival was the centrepiece of the Big Burns Supper, a three-day festival celebrating the best of Scottish culture. More than 30 groups and organisations took part in the parade, accompanied by floats and huge puppets. Graham Main, Big Burns Supper director, said: “What blew me away was seeing so many people coming out to support the arts. Click here to read the full article.
Hopetoun House snowdrops never fail to impress
Scotsman article published on Sunday 26th January 2014 The annual Snowdrop Walk round the 150-acre grounds at Hopetoun House near South Queensferry could easily be termed a Snowdrop Safari. Not only does the walk include a chance to see the drifts and clumps of snowdrops scattered throughout this 300-year-old, tree-filled landscape, it also offers an opportunity to spot wildlife, such as the estate’s famous herd of red deer. Also, while enjoying some of the views at the house, just ten miles north of Edinburgh, you might spot a buzzard or a pair of sparrowhawks overhead. Click here to read the full article.
Forth Bridge lodges World Heritage Site bid
Scotsman article published on Friday 24th January 2014 A bid to establish one of Scotland’s most iconic structures as an international tourist attraction will be lodged today. The Forth Bridge, which has loomed over the Firth of Forth since it opened in 1890, will become an official World Heritage Site within the next 18 months if the application, backed by both Westminster and Holyrood governments, proves successful. It is the only site chosen from an 11-strong shortlist across the UK – and was considered the most likely to be accepted for an elite list of attractions, which already includes Egypt’s pyramids, the Taj Mahal in India and the Great Wall of China. Among the other bids were the Lake District, Charles Darwin’s “landscape laboratory” in London, and the historic Chatham Dockyard and related defences in Kent. Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Forth Bridge is an iconic symbol of technical creativity and engineering excellence. Click here to read the full article.
Digital characters ready to do battle at brand new Bannockburn centre
STV article published on Friday 24th January 2014 Six people that volunteered to be transformed into 3D historical characters have came face-to-face with their digital counterpart at the brand new Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre. The centre, which will open on March 1, will bring a ground-breaking new experience to the site of the historic battle in time for its 700th anniversary. The new centre is the only place in the UK where cutting-edge 3D technology and medieval armies meet, and the first heritage attraction in the world to use motion capture technology featuring live, authentic fight choreography to immerse visitors in a realistic medieval battle. David McAllister, Battle of Bannockburn project director, National Trust for Scotland said: “Using this amazing new technology, we are able to give visitors an unrivalled opportunity to interact with and understand the variety of people who found themselves swept up in the historic events of 1314. Click here to read the full article.
Racers gather in Aviemore for annual husky rally
Scotsman article published on Thursday 23rd January 2014 More than 1000 sled dogs are gathering for the famous Siberian Husky Club dog race taking place in the Cairngorms this weekend. The race on Saturday and Sunday will be the 31th anniversary of the event, which began with only a few teams in the 1980s. Every year since 1984, mushers from across the UK have gathered in the forests around Aviemore for the biggest event in the British sled dog racing calendar – The Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain Aviemore Sled Dog Rally. The race is run on forest trails around Loch Morlich, in the shadow of the Cairngorm mountains. From an original of only 12 teams, the race is now the largest event of its kind in the UK, with over 1,000 sled dogs and 250 mushers. Click here to read the full article.
Burrell Collection £15m world tour approved
Scotsman article published on Wednesday 22nd January 2014 One of Scotland’s most significant art collections will be able to go on tour for the first time after MSPs last night approved legislation allowing it to leave the country. The Burrell Collection in Glasgow is expected to attract widespread interest from exhibitors across the world after decades-old restrictions preventing overseas loans were lifted. The Glasgow-based collection, renowned for the quality of its Chinese art and extensive array of European tapestries, will go on tour while the museum’s building is being refurbished. Those behind the contentious move said the opportunity to exhibit the art abroad represented a “new chapter” in the Burrell’s history and would enhance its “international reputation”. Although the legislation was passed unanimously, doubts have been expressed over whether the projected multi-million pound revenues from overseas tours were realistic. Click here to read the full article.
Glasgow Film Festival unveils 2014 programme
Scotsman article published on Wednesday 22nd January 2014 Glasgow Film Festival will celebrate its 10-year anniversary with its largest ever programme including big-name premieres, cross-overs with the city’s music and art scenes, and one-off screenings in a host of unique locations. Hotly-anticipated new films with Scarlett Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Toni Colette, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Caine, Emily Watson and Tom Hardy have been confirmed for the 10-day event, which is expected to attract more than 40,000 film fans for the first time. More venues than ever before are being deployed across the city, including Kelvingrove art gallery, the city’s Central Station, a former glue factory set to be transformed into a giant amusement arcade, and the Glasgow Film Theatre, which will be staging a spectacular Frankenstein-themed fancy dress bash at Kelvingrove to mark its own 40th birthday. Click here to read the full article.
Edinburgh tourism numbers up following campaign
Scotsman article published on Wednesday 22nd January 2014 The number of visitors to the Scottish capital has increased significantly following a new drive to promote the city’s assets and enhance the visitor experience. The total number of visitors in 2012 was up 11 per cent compared to two years before, with total spending rising by 16 per cent. The average spend also increased to £321.46 per person, up four per cent on 2010, and there was also a four per cent rise during the key winter months. Yearly figures are drawn from a variety of sources and take almost a year to calculate, but tourism chiefs said that the indications were that 2013 had seen further growth in terms of spending and visitor numbers. Click here to read the full article.
Big Burns Supper: Aim to feed 5,000 Haggis meals
BBC article published on Tuesday 21st January 2014
The Big Burns Supper festival is hoping to see 5,000 people tuck into a haggis meal over its three days in Dumfries. The event runs from Friday to Sunday with a wide range of concerts, comedy and community activities planned.
As part of a drive to get more people enjoying Burns Suppers, a special mascot – Hamish the Haggis – has been touring schools. Director Graham Main said Burns Night was all about “great food, good company and lots of fun”. During the festival, Hamish the Haggis will host an “interactive family show” including a children’s Burns Supper. Click here to read the full article.
Speyside whisky to be a Scottish tourist icon
Scotsman article published on Tuesday 21st January 2014 Ambitious plans were announced today to develop the tourist potential of Speyside’s booming whisky industry to secure the same iconic status as the Champagne region of France. Moray’s parliamentarians, Angus Robertson MP and Richard Lochhead MSP, have invited the new chief executives of drinks giants Diageo and Chivas Brothers to meetings in the heartland of Scotland’s malt whisky producing region to discuss plans for a co-ordinated drive to transform Speyside into a worldwide tourist destination. More than half of the Scotch whisky distilleries owned by Diageo and Chivas Brothers are located in Moray, and the single-malt whiskies produced in Speyside are the key ingredients for many of Scotland’s most popular blended whiskies. Click here to read the full article.
City centre to be transformed into a Field of Light
Published by Edinburgh Spotlight on Tuesday 21st January 2014 Field of Light, by British artist Bruce Munro, will be exhibited within Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square, Edinburgh from 3 February to 27 April 2014. More information can be Edinburgh Spotlight’s website.
Scots climbers warned against wearing cotton
BBC article published on Monday 20 January 2014 Climbers and hillwalkers are being warned they are more at risk of freezing to death if they wear cotton clothing. The stark message comes from the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, which has over 12,000 members. Heather Morning, Mountain Safety Advisor with the MCofS, advises that wearing cotton clothing can significantly increase the risk of developing hypothermia. When cotton clothing gets wet, whether through rain, snow-melt or perspiration, it provides no insulation and quickly cools the skin. Outdoor clothing manufacturers produce their garments from either man-made synthetic fabrics or wool, which ‘wick’ moisture away from the skin and retain warmth even when wet or damp. The onset of hypothermia usually has several causes, and inappropriate clothing is only one factor which may contribute to the problem. Eating adequate and appropriate food is also important. Click here to read the full article.
Lost Rabbie Burns manuscripts set for exhibition
Scotsman article published on Sunday 19th January 2014 Without them, we might never have truly understood our greatest poet. A new exhibition at the National Library of Scotland will showcase the Glenriddell Manuscripts, a rare collection of Robert Burns’s work written in his hand that was lost for more than 50 years. The display, which opens next week in time for Burns Night this Saturday, will celebrate the centenary of the two volumes, which include Tam o’ Shanter and Holy Willie’s Prayer, being repatriated to Scotland. Believed to be worth at least £3 million, the volumes have been ranked as the most important piece of “Burnsiana” in existence, and are rarely available to be shown to the public. Gerard Carruthers, co-director of the centre for Robert Burns studies, said: “They are certainly in the top two or three manuscript collections of Burns’ work. Arguably they are the most important and the most famous.” Click here to read the full article.
Scotland enjoys 8% rise in overseas visitors
Scotsman article published on Friday 17th January 2014 Scottish tourism chiefs have welcomed official statistics showing that the number of overseas visitors to Scotland is on the rise. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of overseas visitors who came to Scotland between January and September last year had increased by 7.9 per cent when compared with the same period in 2012. Over the same period, overseas spend rose to £1,380 million, up from £1,161m for the same period in 2012, a rise 18.8 per cent. The rise in foreign tourists was accompanied by a slight increase in the number of domestic visits, which went up by 1.3 per cent. Click here to read the full article.
Celtic Connections 2014: Benedetti makes debut
Scotsman article published on Friday 17th January 2014 Violinist Nicola Benedetti has kicked off the 21st Celtic Connections music festival in Glasgow with her debut appearance at the event. The 26-year-old was the star attraction at the event as she unveiled a host of material from a new Scottish-themed album due for release later this year. She performed alongside Gaelic songstress Julie Fowlis and a host of other leading traditional musicians from Scotland and overseas at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Before performing, she admitted to the 2000-strong audience that she had a dose of stage fright beforehand. She said: “I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous in my entire life. I was standing backstage a minute ago saying ‘I can’t do it, I can’t do it.” Click here to read the full article.
Mingary Castle secret passages discovered
Scotsman article published on Wednesday 15th January 2014 Secret passages that were sealed up around 500 years ago have been discovered during restoration work at a ruined castle on the most westerly point on the British mainland. A room, which is high enough to stand up in, was also uncovered during an archaeological dig at Mingary Castle, near Kilchoan, Ardnamuchan. It is believed they were filled in to make the walls more robust following the invention of cannons. The 13th century castle has not been occupied for more than 150 years. But its owner, Donald Houston, has been granted permission to turn the ruin into a residential property, through the Mingary Preservation Trust, and work is now under way to restore it to its former glory at a cost of around £2 million. Click here to read the full article.
Alex Salmond opens salmon fishing season on Tay
Scotsman article published on Wednesday 15th January 2014 First Minister Alex Salmond today announced plans for a major review of Scotland’s wild fisheries as he was given the honour of casting the first fly to open the salmon fishing season on the River Tay. He revealed that he had commissioned Andrew Thin, the outgoing chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage, to chair an independent review of the management of salmon and freshwater fisheries to ensure they are “robust, sustainable and fit for purpose in the 21st Century.” The aim of the review will be to manage, conserve and develop salmon fisheries on Scotland’s rivers and costal netting stations to maximise the sustainable benefit for Scotland as a whole, particularly in boosting the economy of rural areas. The review will also be charged with developing and promoting a “modern, evidence-based management system” for wild fisheries, capable of responding to a changing environment. Click here to read the full article.
Celtic Connections 2014: The Highlights
Scotsman article published on Saturday 11th January 2014 What’s must-see at this year’s Celtic Connections? Jim Gilchrist chooses his highlights. OPENING CONCERT WITH NICOLA BENEDETTI & FRIENDS 16 JANUARY | GLASGOW ROYAL CONCERT HALL Celtic Connections goes classical, at least so far as the presence of the Scottish virtuoso violinist is concerned. She’s joined in a new work by maestros from the traditional camp – fiddler Aly Bain, accordionist Phil Cunningham and Gaelic song ambassador Julie Fowlis. Click here to read the full article.
Storm raises chance of aurora borealis over Scotland
BBC article published on Thursday 9th January 2014
The chances of seeing the aurora borealis over Scotland during the next few nights are good, according to space weather forecasters. Activity on the Sun is expected to cause a geomagnetic storm, increasing the likelihood of the Northern Lights, the British Geological Survey said.
Stargazers have already seen the aurora from northern Scotland this week. Karen Munro was among amateur astronomers to see it over Caithness at about 23:30 on Tuesday. She and fellow members of Caithness Astronomy Group captured images of the “lights” from the Achavanich standing stones. BGS space weather forecasters said a fast coronal mass ejection (CME) was observed leaving the Sun on Tuesday. Click here to read the full article.
VisitScotland launches campaign for Homecoming Scotland 2014
BBC article published on Wednesday 8th January 2014
A new marketing campaign has been launched to encourage “local” interest in Homecoming Scotland 2014 events. It will be aimed at people in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England. VisitScotland is backing a £500,000 campaign, which includes TV advertising, press, radio, digital and promotional activity.
At its launch, VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said 2014 would be a “truly amazing year”. Revealing the television advert at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh, tourism minister Fergus Ewing said the Homecoming events were a “huge opportunity”. He added: “We have already seen Lonely Planet name Scotland as one of the three top countries in the world to visit in 2014. CNN recently listed Edinburgh as a top ten city to visit this winter. Click here to read the full article.
New VisitScotland Homecoming advert launched
Scotsman article published on Wednesday 8th January 2014 Tourism chiefs have unveiled a £500,000 television advert to persuade Scots to holiday at home this summer which will spearhead the second “Homecoming” campaign. The “Doorsteps” promotional video – the second Homecoming film to be released in the space of a week – is aimed at encouraging people to take in some of the 430 events which are being promoted through the campaign. It includes footage from the Wickerman music festival in Dumfriesshire, the Islay Festival of Malt and Music, the Edinburgh Fringe, Lochearnhead Highland Games, and the Return to the Ridings event in the Borders. It will be shown in Scotland during Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Midsomer Murders. The advert, created by Leith, one of Scotland’s leading agencies, is expected to be seen by around five million viewers by the end of January alone. It will be shown across Scotland, as well as in the north of England and Northern Ireland. Click here to read the full article.
Video: The natural beauty of Arthur’s Seat
Scotsman article published on Wednesday 8th January 2014 Arthur’s Seat, situated right at the heart of Edinburgh, is one of the capital’s most iconic landmarks. It is the highest point of a group of hills that sprawl across Holyrood Park, standing at around 822 ft tall at its peak. It is easily accessible via numerous locations, though one of the hill’s most popular walkways is situated near Dunsapie Loch. Many hillwalkers also attempt the ascent via several pathways that face the Scottish Parliament. Arthur’s Seat’s decidedly benign slopes and cliff faces conceal a rather interesting past – one that starts about 350 million years ago. Like the rock that props up Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat was once an active volcano. Its more recent history has seen it forge connections with King Arthur, hence the name. A poem dating back to Iron Age settlers in the region refers to an ‘Athur’-like warrior. Arthur’s Seat has also featured heavily in literature throughout the ages – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Jules Verne’s The Underground City being two of the most famous examples. Click here to read the full article.
Glasgow named one of world’s top tourist spots
Scotsman article published on Wednesday 8th January 2014 It is gearing up to host one of the world’s biggest sporting celebrations and one of the most high-profile events in the global music industry. Now Glasgow’s profile has been given a fresh boost after it was named one of the top tourism destinations on the planet in 2014. Experts at Rough Guides, one of the world’s leading travel publishers, have rated Glasgow alongside carnival capital Rio, which will help stage football’s World Cup extravaganza this summer, as a must-visit destination. The travel industry bible’s new cities guide also features culture capitals in Sweden, the Netherlands, Bosnia and France, as well as Liverpool, which was previously crowned European capital of culture in 2008. Glasgow’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games this summer and the advent of the £125 million SSE Hydro arena, were both cited by Rough Guides as evidence of the city’s growing status as a “cultural powerhouse”. Click here to read the full article.
Battle over Culloden housing development plan
Scotsman article published on Wednesday 8th January 2014 A controversial housing development next to the historic Culloden battlefield has been given the go-ahead, prompting fury from campaigners fearing the effect on the site. The 16-home scheme, within 400 metres of the historic location, was rejected by Highland Council last year. But a Scottish Government reporter has upheld an appeal by the developers, Inverness Properties. The National Trust for Scotland (NTS), which manages the battlefield and runs the visitor centre which attracts thousands of tourists from around the globe each year, fears the development will impact on the site, claiming it will damage the setting on Drumossie Moor and set back archaeological research. Culloden battlefield was the location of the last pitched battle fought on British soil, where Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Young Pretender, and his Jacobite Army were defeated by government forces on 16 April 1746, ending his claim to the British throne – and claiming more than 2,000 lives. Click here to read the full article.
Fife’s The Big Tent music festival cancelled
Scotsman article published on Tuesday 7th January 2014 Scotland’s biggest eco-festival has been permanently shelved, organisers said yesterday. The Big Tent Festival was Fife’s largest festival, eventually drawing more than 11,000 people to the Falkland estate after being launched in 2006. But this year’s event has been cancelled and it will not return in the foreseeable future. Organisers said it had become increasingly difficult to stage the event – billed as “Scotland’s greenest festival” – and raise enough funding, due to its scale and popularity. The Proclaimers, Rosanne Cash, King Creosote and Aberfeldy were among acts to appear at the event, usually staged the last weekend in July. But the event had been postponed while a major review was carried out, with organisers admitting they had “almost become victims of our own success”. Click here to read the full article.
14 Places to walk in Edinburgh in 2014
Published by Edinburgh Spotlight on Tuesday 7th January 2014 Suggestions of places to go for a walk in Edinburgh during 2014 on Edinburgh Spotlight’s website.
Dates for Edinburgh’s 2014 Festivals
Published by Edinburgh Spotlight on Monday 6th January 2014 Dates for Edinburgh’s 2014 Festivals can be found on Edinburgh Spotlight’s website.
Top 10 Cities
Published by Rough Guides on Monday 6th January 2014 Glasgow is named as a Top 10 city to visit in 2014 by Rough Guides.
Lost Edinburgh: The City Walls
Scotsman article published on Monday 6th January 2014 Until the 18th century, the boundary of Edinburgh was defined by the city walls. It is believed that Edinburgh has been protected by walled defences since the city was founded, but evidence suggests the town’s first proper defensive wall was constructed during the late middle ages. It was known as the King’s Wall and enclosed a small portion of the current city centre, running east from the Castle rock above the Grassmarket towards roughly where Blackfriars Street is today. The King’s Wall, the natural fortifications of the Castle Rock and the Nor’ Loch – an artificial body of water to the north of the town, ensured that Edinburgh was well protected from the threat of invasion on a number of occasions. Remnants of the King’s Wall are thought to stand today in Tweeddale Court between the High Street and the Cowgate. Click here to read the full article.
Shallow grave bones linked to Burke and Hare
Scotsman article published on Monday 6th January 2014 Bodies found buried in a shallow grave behind an upmarket townhouse are believed to be among the final victims of the callous body snatchers made infamous by Burke and Hare. Five skeletons found in an Edinburgh garden have been dated directly to the period in which the theft and sale of cadavers was rife, Scotland on Sunday has learned. Experts have said the four adults and one child may well have been victims of the “resurrectionists” who plied their trade in selling recently dead bodies to medical schools. The discovery by construction workers was made in September 2012 in a garden to the rear of a large townhouse on Grove Street in the Haymarket area of the capital, which was undergoing renovation. Click here to read the full article. A further article published in the Daily Mail on Monday 6th January 2014 can be found here.
Great Scott! Celebrating 200 years of Sir Walter Scott
STV article published on Sunday 5th January 2014 His name is immortalised in stone as well as paper, yet how many of us have actually read Sir Walter Scott? He is the only author in Britain to have a railway station named after him and his writing became a leap-point for Scottish tourism as we know it. His descriptions of Scotland as a romanticised land, filled with sweeping misted hills and flame-haired folk brought tourists in their droves. So why is it that this famous Scottish author, whose books have sold in their millions across the globe, now appears to be consigned to dusty shelves? “I think, like many people, I thought that Scott’s books were a bit dusty, a bit old and probably a bit too heavy to be enjoyable,” said historian Eleanor Harris. “But I started reading a few of his books and now I know why they took the world by storm. It has been 200 years since Walter Scott wrote his first book and he deserves to be given another chance.” Eleanor, 35, is now on a mission to get more Scots reading the works of this great novelist, starting with the very first book Scott wrote – Waverley. Click here to read the full article.
Scotland eyes £100m prize as host of Ryder Cup
Scotsman article published on Saturday 4th January 2014 Times have changed since the event was last here, says Martin Dempster. When the Ryder Cup was last staged in Scotland – at Muirfield in 1973 – it was only really big in terms of the players taking part. Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Billy Casper and Lee Trevino were in the winning United States line-up, while the Great Britain & Ireland team included Tony Jacklin and Scots Bernard Gallacher and Brian Barnes. There were no big crowds lining the fairways of the East Lothian links. No giant merchandise tent with its tills ringing merrily. Media interest was minimal. The contest carried bragging rights, which belonged almost exclusively to the Americans, but not much else. Times have changed. The modern Ryder Cup is a different animal as the Home of Golf will discover when the 2014 match is staged on the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles from 26-28 September. Click here to read the full article.
John Napier to tax modern minds 400 years on
Scotsman article published on Friday 3rd January 2014 He is regarded as one of Scotland’s greatest ever scientists – a brilliant mathematician, physicist and astronomer credited with inventing logarithms, the decimal point and one of the first mechanical calculators. Now the first major exhibition to be dedicated to John Napier will reveal the full story behind the enigmatic figure, widely seen as the first Scot to have made a major contribution to scientific learning. It will explore his upbringing as a member of the nobility in Scotland’s capital, his dropping-out from full-time education and teenage travels around Europe, as well as his deep interest in religion and reputed secret dabblings in alchemy and the occult. The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh has revealed plans to celebrate the life and legacy of the “Laird of Merchiston” to celebrate a landmark anniversary of a ground breaking work which paved the way for a host of developments in mathematics, science and engineering. Click here to read the full article.
Transport team set up for Scottish events in 2014
Scotsman article published on Wednesday 1st January 2014 Scotland faces its biggest ever transport challenge this year with six major events that are expected to collectively attract more than a million spectators. A special Scottish Government team has been formed to mastermind travel for the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and Armed Forces Day, and anniversaries for the Battle of Bannockburn, First World War and Forth Road Bridge. With control of transport largely devolved to Scotland, ministers will be anxious to avoid any significant problems in the run-up to the independence referendum on 18 September – a month after the Games. They want to ensure the country’s transport system “makes a full contribution to the success of each event and enhances our nation’s worldwide reputation”. Plans include minimising roadworks and making the Games “car-free”. The sporting extravaganza in Glasgow from 23 July will involve up to 600,000 extra journeys a day as 100,000 spectators travel between venues. Nearly half will be travelling to Scotland for the Games, staying as far afield as Ayrshire, Loch Lomond and Edinburgh. Click here to read the full article. For tourism related news in 2013 see Latest Tourism Related News – 2013